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Despite beginning his term with a boost in Arab opinion of the United States and a well-received reset of U.S./Muslim relations in Cairo in 2009, President Obama has taken a major hit in the region over the last year or so; the U.S. actually polls worse than it did during the last year of George W. Bush’s “crusade” presidency:

When President Bush left office, 9 percent of Egyptians had a favorable attitude towards the United States. After Barack Obama was elected, that number jumped to 30 percent. But today, only 5 percent of Egyptians surveyed said they have a favorable opinion of the United States and its president. Similar figures in Morocco, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates illustrate that the initial optimism in the region has been eclipsed by a widespread sense of disappointment.

Hard to know if this is because of the stubbornness of Israel’s government vis-a-vis settlement construction and making a deal–which even though Obama has pressed it for changes, nonetheless appears to the world, mostly accurately, to have unquestioned U.S. backing–or rather the continued massive American military presence in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now, to a lesser extent, Libya.

Photo by archer10 (Dennis) / CC BY-SA 2.0

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For months, one postal worker had been doing all she could to protect herself from COVID-19. She wore a mask long before it was required at her plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. She avoided the lunch room, where she saw little social distancing, and ate in her car.

The stakes felt especially high. Her husband, a postal worker in the same facility, was at high risk because his immune system is compromised by a condition unrelated to the coronavirus. And the 20-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service knew that her job, operating a machine that sorts mail by ZIP code, would be vital to processing the flood of mail-in ballots expected this fall.

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